The New York Giants have been horrible on offense the past two seasons, 31st in the NFL in points per game each of those years. Daniel Jones has a puny total of 21 touchdown passes in 25 games over that time — 17 quarterback threw more touchdown passes than that last season alone.
Speaking of last season, the Giants were even worse when Jones missed six games with his season-ending neck injury. They barely resembled an NFL team with Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm trying to play quarterback, scoring just 56 points in six games, an average of 9.3 points per game.
As we finish our ‘Better or Worse?’ position series, we need to talk about quarterback play. So, let’s dive in.
Key losses: Mike Glennon, Jake Fromm
Key additions: Tyrod Taylor, Davis Webb
Why the Giants could be better
There are two ways to examine this — when Jones is playing and when Jones is NOT playing.
When Jones is playing
“We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up.”
That was co-owner John Mara speaking about Jones back in January.
Jones is on his third head coach and fourth offensive coordinator (counting Freddie Kitchens) in four seasons. Jones has never had the benefit of playing with the 2018 version of Saquon Barkley. The Giants have never put a competent offensive line in front of him. The receivers, due to both injury and under-performance, have not often been helpful. As much as Jones respected him, he was saddled with Jason Garrett designing the offense the last two seasons.
So, Jones, while he does have his own well-documented flaws and has certainly been responsible for his share of meme-worthy moments, has never truly been set up to succeed.
Situation and circumstance matter. Just ask Sam Darnold. Or Josh Rosen. Or Matthew Stafford. Or Jake Fromm, for that matter.
On paper, the 2022 circumstance appears to be the best of Jones’ career.
- Head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka both come from successful offenses. Daboll, of course, having been offensive coordinator in Buffalo. Kafka learning at the feet of Andy Reid with the high-scoring and wildly creative Kansas City Chiefs.
- There is — another — rebuilt offensive line. This one, though, features two bookend offensive tackles taken in the top seven picks of their respective drafts. It also features several competent veterans, and a pair of rookie guards who could develop into useful players.
- There is excitement about rookie wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and tight end Daniel Bellinger.
- There is hope that Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard will be healthier — and that the Daboll/Kafka offense will get more out of them.
- There is the reality that running back Saquon Barkley enters the season healthier than he has been since suffering the first of a spate of injuries early in the 2019 season.
Now, can Jones take advantage of all of that?
Former Giants scouting assistant Tom Rudawsky offered this take on Jones during a recent appearance on the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast:
“It is truly quite a conundrum that the Giants find themselves in. Daniel Jones is one of those guys where he is so highly thought of by so many coaches and scouts and big-time evaluators around the league. He’s really a well-respected player in league circles,” Rudawsky said. “But, we all can’t deny a lot of the inconsistencies and frustrating performances that he’s had over the last few years.
“He’s such a polarizing player. Everybody has an opinion on Daniel Jones, and the spectrum of opinions on him is so wide-ranging. Ultimately, yeah, I think this season is going to be huge.”
My personal belief has always been that Jones is better than the less-than-acceptable 21-touchdown, 17-interception performance of the past two seasons. How much better? I honestly don’t know.
I do believe, though, that a better offensive scheme and improved personnel around him will lead to Jones being better in 2022.
When Jones is NOT playing
I need a Staples EASY button for this one, because that is what the answer is. Easy.
Neither the veteran Glennon nor the untested rookie Fromm resembled NFL quarterbacks when they were forced to play over the final six games.
Glennon, in his ninth season, was abominable. He completed 53 percent of his passes (90 of 167) with four touchdown passes, 10 interceptions and a 49.7 passer rating. It was hold your breath time whenever Glennon dropped back to throw.
Fromm was simply in over his head. Plucked off the Buffalo Bills practice squad on Dec. 1, the 2020 fifth-round pick out of Georgia was playing less than three weeks later. After a promising debut in relief of Glennon late in a blowout loss to Dallas, reality set in during the two games Fromm started.
He finished the season 27 of 60 (45 percent) with a touchdown, three interceptions and a forgettable 28.9 passer rating.
Not surprisingly, neither Glennon nor Fromm currently have NFL jobs.
Enter Tyrod Taylor and Davis Webb.
After four years with the Baltimore Ravens where he barely got off the bench, the 11-year veteran has spent the last seven seasons showing that he is a perfectly adequate, functional NFL quarterback. Not more. Not less. Taylor has a 26-25-1 record as a starting quarterback during a journeyman career that has seen him play for the Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Charger and Houston Texans.
Taylor has made peace with, and thrived in, his role as a sometimes placeholding starter and for the last several seasons generally a backup.
“I think because I, obviously you put the team first, but the outside noise I never let affect me. I’ve been a big believer of control what you can control. Each day you walk into the building you control your attitude, your effort, and how you go about your business. I think that helps you be able to work in any type of situation,” Taylor told New YOrk media shortly after he signed with the Giants. “If you’re confident in yourself, confident in your ability to go out and perform, but also a great teammate, I think that you’re able to maneuver through what most people would think are tough situations or tough circumstances, in a matter where it doesn’t affect you.”
The Giants will be in capable hands if Taylor is forced to play.
As for Webb, the Giants’ 2017 third-round pick has only gotten into one NFL game and has never thrown a pass. He was valued enough for his knowledge, his study habits and what he brought to the quarterback room that he had an opportunity to become a coach in Buffalo before deciding to continue his playing career with the Giants.
No one knows what it would look like if Webb had to play, but behind the scenes he should be a terrific resource for Jones and the Giants.No one k
Why the Giants could be worse
This is one of those worst-case scenario deals.
- The offensive line and skill positions are ravaged by injuries, which I know sounds familiar.
- Jones, even with a fancy new offense is left with no one to block and no playmakers to make plays. He eventually succumbs to injury himself.
- Taylor gets hurt, Webb has to play and he looks like Kyle Lauletta (0 for 5 in a 2018 game vs. Washington in his only NFL action at quarterback).
That’s really all I’ve got. As bad as it was all the way around last year — and the year before — I have a hard time seeing how it could get worse.